Platteville, WI --- The Wisconsin Harness Horse Association has announced the recipients of their biggest awards: Horseperson of the Year and the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Recipients will receive their awards at the year-end banquet this Saturday (Jan. 25) at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Madison, Wis.
WHHA President Gabe Wand has chosen long time horseman Jay Garrels of Clinton as the recipient of the 2014 Horseperson of the Year Award. Garrels is currently ranked third in top ten driver appearances (16), trailing Gary Magee and Robert Yohn by seven.
However, it’s his seven Driver of the Year titles that currently make Garrels Wisconsin’s all-time leading driver. He has shown his longevity by capturing his first title in 1990 and his most recent in 2007.
Throughout the years, Garrels has spent much of his time south of the Wisconsin border racing on the competitive Illinois stakes circuit. Most recently, he garnered driving awards from the Northern Illinois Colt Association.
Lifetime, Garrels has more than 650 wins and has driven the winners of more than $1.2 million.
In 2013, he returned to the Wisconsin scene with Marie’s Jate, a seasoned veteran pacer he trained who ended the season as Wisconsin’s runner-up Pacer of the Year. Marie’s Jate was groomed exclusively by his daughter, Susan, showing that Garrels is passing his horsemanship down to his daughter. We all look forward to many more competitive years out of this rare father/daughter combo.
The Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame is set to induct Miss Pluto Scott in to the horse category. This 1934 foal is being inducted as a broodmare. Owned by J. Howard Young of Elkhorn, Miss Pluto Scott had eight foals between 1947 and 1954. Among her top earners were Plutocrat 3,1:59.2 ($51,204); Fred Scott 3,2:00.2 ($38,371); Ludene Scott 3,2:05.4h ($41,078) and current Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame member Golden Miss 4,2:02.1h ($64,471).
Miss Pluto Scott’s daughter Golden Miss has a traveling trophy named after her which is awarded to the horse pacing the fastest mile in the state of Wisconsin each year.
The husband and wife team of Gary and Donna Magee will be inducted into the Living Category of the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Both have been Wisconsin racing’s biggest ambassadors spanning several decades. They always take the time to educate fans despite their busy racing schedules.
This duo has had great success on the Wisconsin circuit -- especially with trotters. Together they have had three WHHA Trotters of the Year (Fox Valley Bunns -- twice; Get Physical), two runner-up Trotters of the Year (Fox Valley Bunns; Get Physical), and 14 other top ten trotting finishes (Fox Valley Bunns, Speedy Alber, Miles Mirage, Just Fuz, Rozzie Kay, Scream N Arsenal, Nikola Tesla). Most recently, their trotter Speedy Alber has been a two-time winner at Balmoral Park.
Gary Magee, a former Driver of the Year in Wisconsin, is tied for the most years in the Top Ten Driving Club (23) and has the most runner-up finishes of anyone (five).
Donna and Gary Magee have given much of their time to the WHHA and have done so without expecting anything in return. She has been running the WHHA annual picnic after the Waupaca County Fair in Weyauwega which is an event the entire state looks forward to attending. He spent 18 consecutive years on the WHHA Board of Directors (second only to last year’s Hall of Fame inductee Susan Schroeder), and spent six of those year’s as the Association’s president.
At the conclusion of the awards banquet, the WHHA will hold its annual fund raising auction. With attendance scheduled to be the highest it’s been since 1995, it’s proving to be a fun and competitive fund raiser for the fair racing organization.
Key items have been donated by Xtreme Harness, Omega Alpha, Dr. Kapraun, Dr. Petrowitz, Midwest Horse Shoers Reed Remely & Don Nolan, Todd Hill, Sam Lily of Mid-America Harness News, Horseman & Fair World, Running Aces, Ellen Harvey, Phil Langley, Kate Williams, Gretchen Springer, and Overture Center For The Arts in Madison who donated four tickets to the Tony Award winning production of War Horse. Specific items can be referenced on our Facebook page (Wi Harness Racing) or our website (www.wiharnessracing.com).
Parties interested in bidding on a particular item by phone can contact Gabe Wand at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text: 608.574.5468 for further details.